The 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series has been Strange x Strange
2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series features an oddly entertaining points battle between both National late model champions from the previous year
If you’re a fan of the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series you should be very excited for the upcoming races. In between awesome dirt late model racing, last-lap passes for the win, tardy drivers and doctors notes we’ve also had an oddly entertaining points battle.
Scott Bloomquist, the 2016 LOLMDS Champ was last in points after the first race of the new season. This weekend, we are heading into races eight and nine of the year. Bloomquist sits just 15 points behind the 2016 WoOLMS Champ, Josh Richards. How did this happen?
The math is simple. It’s strange, to the square root of strange.
Golden Isles Speedway: The defending Lucas Oil Dirt champ, Scott Bloomquist showed up late to the first race of the season at Golden Isles Speedway. Missing qualifying and heats, a provisional starting spot granted a position at the tail of the A-Main. Netting the creation of a new Lucas Oil Dirt Series rule.
Bloomquist started the race, but it didn’t net the result Team Zero was hoping for. While running at the tail of the lead lap, Bloomquist made contact with the race-leader, Billy Moyer. They both broke. Moyer left the track with a puff of radiator smoke. Bloomquist couldn’t restart and was pushed to the pits.
Hero to Zero, the 2016 LOLMDS champ was now in last place on the points chart after the debut 2017 event. He has been fighting his way up the Lucas Oil point standings ever since. It hasn’t come easy.
The following night at Golden Isles Speedway, Bloomquist rebounded for a 3rd place finish. He made a significant climb up the points chart. However, he gained zero ground to the #1. Josh Richards, won that race, picking up his first win of the year.
East Bay Raceway Park: It was a week long show in Tampa, FL. However, the first few nights offered money and basically a test session. No season championship points were awarded, only Winternationals points.
Bloomquist unloaded a few times early in the week, the crew fired the engine but the car didn’t touch the track until Thursday. While working on a racecar, Bloomquist cut his hand. That cut became infected, doctors didn’t clear him to race in the early part of the week.
As the Bloomquist car sat loaded up in the hauler the Rocket crew went testing, picking up wins along the way. Brandon Sheppard and Josh Richards shared wins in their Rocket XR-1’s. Thursday, Bloomquist made his debut, he finished 7th, it wasn’t a points night.
East Bay Raceway Park was hit with two rain-out’s. A week of racing, but only one of those nights were official points-paying races. Friday was the first (and only) points night at East Bay Raceway Park due to the weather. Bloomquist unloaded for the second time in the week. Josh Richards and Scott Bloomquist raced side-by-side all night.
Directly from the hospital, Bloomquist won!
However, Richards, finished 2nd and also became the new LOLMDS points leader.
Bubba Raceway Park: This was the most recent race for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series drivers. Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards have been now stood on the LOLMDS podium together, twice in 2017 alone. I’ve never seen them speak a word to each other.
Yet, as the haulers pulled into the Ocala dirt track, they were parked side by side. Josh Richards went to swapping out his green spoiler. In it’s place, a neon orange one, designating the LOLMDS point leader. Meanwhile, Bloomquist must have left the black spoiler at home, as his orange spoiler remained installed. Two orange spoilers in the field, parked side-by-side. Pitlane mind games, at it’s finest.
The oddly d-shaped track of Bubba Raceway Park presented the most entertaining race of the season thus far. Bloomquist jumped out to the lead early. It didn’t last long, Josh Richards made the pass around lap 5.
LOLMDS point leader, Josh Richards, was somewhat cruising for the win. Don O’Neal was the only car strong enough to take the win. A lap car spins and takes them both out!
Josh Richards heads to the pits. As the entire Best Performance Motorsports crew focused all their attention on the front end of the mangled #1 car. A snake appears, he see’s this as an opportunity to kick the team while their down. Slithering to the back of the broken #1 machine, he hisses his way under the rear of the car to get some quick answers. Mark Richards, the chassis builder, gives the said peeper a slight push. No harm done, but it’s a push that Mark later issued an apology for.
As the points leader, Richards, re-joined the track with a damaged car. Scott Bloomquist was gifted with the lead of the race. When racing resumed, he disappeared, nobody was even close. It looked like Scott Bloomquist was going to pick up his 2nd LOLMDS win of the season and leave Bubba Raceway Park as the point leader by 5 pts.
Caution. It’s going to be a two lap shootout for the win. Brandon Sheppard is re-starting 3rd or 4th.
He drives to 2nd in one lap. Last lap, very literally out of nowhere, Sheppard is now in the fight for the win. He looks to the outside of Bloomquist in turn 1.
He’s there on the exit, they head into 3, side-by-side. Bloomquist’s entry is stunted as he’s forced to take a new, alternative line. Sheppard completes the pass on the outside in the final corner, stealing the win from Scott Bloomquist in the final 200 feet.
Losing 20 pts on the final corner, Bloomquist doesn’t leave Bubba Raceway Park as the new point leader. Instead, he now sits 2nd in points. It took just three races for Bloomquist to climb from last in points, to 2nd.
What’s next?: Scott Bloomquist and Josh Richards have now shared their own on-track issues. Bloomquist trails the point leader, by just 15 points.
Up next, the 3rd Annual Buckeye Spring 50 on March 17th. The series will head to Atomic Speedway, a 3/8 mile dirt track in Chillicothe, OH. The 50-lap main event has $10,000 up from grabs to the winner.
The following day, it’s the 20th Annual Indiana Icebreaker. Brownstown Speedway, a 1/4-mile dirt track in Brownstown, IN will host a 60-lap, $12,000-to-win main event.
The 2017 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season had all the signs of a great year, from race number 1. But we’re just getting started. As a dirt racing fan, you should be excited for this weekend.
Get your tickets, you’ll be entertained.
Author: Shane Walters
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